Friday, May 3, 2013

On Safari with Marie Moore, Author of Game Drive

Today our guest post is from Marie Moore, author of Game Drive.


For those of us who love animals, going on an African safari is the ultimate thrill. Experiencing the sight of animals roaming free, in the wild, in their native habitat, is beyond compare. 

In Game Drive, the second book in The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery series, Sidney, a Mississippi-born, New York-based travel agent gets to know elephants, rhinos and other African wildlife up-close and personal as she goes on safari near Kruger National Park with her best friend and fellow travel agent Jay Wilson. Their boss at Itchy Feet Travel has a new scheme to attract customers—safari tour packages. He sends Sidney and Jay on a familiarization trip to Cape Town and safari country to check out the accommodations and confirm that the experience lives up to the hype in the brochures.
Sidney looks forward to the deluxe trip and so does Jay, despite his deathly fear of animals, both wild and domesticated. Their experience will be far wilder than either could have imagined. First Sidney stumbles upon a suspicious rendezvous and possible murder scene in Cape Town. Then after Sidney’s pocket is picked on a cable-car ride up Table Mountain, she suspects that someone in their group is an imposter, a suspicion that is soon confirmed. At Leopard Dance—the luxury game lodge near Kruger National Park that serves as their base camp—one of the other agents on the “fam trip” turns up dead.

Most of the background for The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery Series comes from personal experience over the span of my career as a travel agent.  When traveling, I take lots of photographs and keep a journal, so summoning back up sights, sounds and smells of Africa in my memory was easy. Back home, working on my stories I usually fact-check my memories against books, atlases, and on the internet in an effort to make Sidney’s adventures as realistic as possible.  I never use real people in my books, because they might not like that, for one, but also because it limits the imagination.

My husband and I both love Africa. He and I have been on safari in Kenya and South Africa, and he has been alone on safari in Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Together, we have also roamed Northern Africa, from Morocco to Egypt, but that’s another story, and another adventure for Sidney.

Sidney’s first glimpse of the wonders of nature she is to experience on safari comes as they first enter the bushveld near Kruger.

“We lurched across a shallow ditch, wheels spinning in the dry, sandy soil of the empty creek-bed. Then we turned left again, going deeper into the scrub, bumping over rocks. Branches scraped the sides of the vehicle. I grabbed at the side of the Rover, trying to brace myself.“Please keep your hands inside the vehicle and mind your heads,” Vincent warned.

Everyone was chattering away, heads swiveling, watching for animals. Small wooden signposts at a crossroads in the track pointed the way to our lodge and also to other game camps. Because of the bumpy trail, Vincent drove at a crawl, pausing occasionally, sometimes almost stopping. Then, apparently in response to some silent signal from Anthony, he turned off the engine and we rolled to a stop.Everyone abruptly stopped talking and the only sound you could hear was the ticking of the cooling engine and the lone cry of a bird.

“Just there,” Anthony said in a low voice, pointing to our right, “giraffe.”

“Oh, my goodness, y’all, look at that!” Connie whispered.We sat staring, camera shutters clicking, as a pair of giraffes moved gracefully through the bush, pausing now and then to pluck leaves with their long, blue-black tongues from the tops of the acacia trees. Finally, majestically, they moved on, striding smoothly out of sight.“Welcome to Africa,” Vincent said as he started the engine.”

On safari, Sidney and Jay soon learn to respect the animals rather than fear them as they begin to realize that man can be far more dangerous than the beasts.  And as in Shore Excursion, Sidney suspects early on that the “Marsh Curse” isn’t far away, dooming her relationships with attractive men.

“Who named this place ‘Leopard Dance’?”

Once again, Winsome’s words came to mind.
“Then there may be truth in what your drivers say.”
“And what is that, my love? What do my drivers say?”
“They say, ‘He who dines with the leopard is liable to be eaten’.”

He laughed then, and smiled down at me, pulling me closer.

“That’s an old native saying, my dear, and it may be true. One must be very careful with a leopard.”
“I did, darling, I did. In the very beginning, I named it. I am fascinated with leopards. Though terribly dangerous, they are also beautiful. And the beast is a self-sufficient, solitary creature. Like you. And like me. Ingwe, they call the cat. That is a Zulu word. It means both king and leopard. One must be careful in the presence of Ingwe.”

Marie Moore married a lawyer in her Mississippi hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper—first as a writer and then as Managing Editor. 

Later, Marie opened and managed a retail travel agency, sailed on nineteen cruises, and visited over sixty countries.

Game Drive (April, 2013, Camel Press) is the sequel to Marie’s first novel, Shore Excursion (April, 2012, Camel Press) which introduced amateur sleuth Sidney Marsh and The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery Series.  In May, Marie will be a program panelist at the 25th Malice Domestic Mystery Conference in Bethesda, MD.  Both Shore Excursion and Game Drive were specially selected in February for the onboard libraries of all 21 ships of the Holland America and Seabourn Cruise Lines.  Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime.

For more information, visit:

In conjunction with Marie's new book, cozy mystery marketing is holding a contest to win a Kindle Touch, and several other prizes. Details on how to enter can be found here.


  1. Thank you so much, Deborah, for introducing your friends to The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery Series! I hope you and your readers will come along with Sidney and Jay on all their adventures! Thanks!

  2. A safari is on my bucket list because I'd love to take pics of the animals up close.